The premise of Lord of Water is quirky and full of potential. What’s not to like about a laid-back dude who hopscotches through the centuries as an environmental superhero/prophet trying to save the water supplies of planets?
With dashes of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a little Life of Pi mysticism thrown in, this slim science fiction-fantasy is imaginative and ambitious. But, unfortunately, it promises more than it delivers, and the story often falters.
The setup is overlong for only 51 pages, and there is an odd narration at the end of chapters. This is apparently meant to build suspense, but it feels unnecessary. For example: “Our Lord of Water, now truly enjoying himself and as certain as he had ever been, was gearing up to execute the biggest moment of his life. Of all our lives.”
For an adventure book it is also talky, with pages of stilted exposition. Author Mike King uses his protagonist to explain background readers need to know, first to his girlfriend and then a ship’s captain. “I am Lord of Water,” he proclaims. “My duty is to calibrate and protect all water planets across this universe . . . I have lost none and would die forever before even one could be raped of its precious resource.” That’s heady dialogue from a character who calls his girlfriend “Babe,” and the approach becomes repetitive and ponderous.
King does better when he finally gets to the action, showing a good grasp of scene-building and detail as the main character uses his power and a spiritual connection with a dolphin to dive deep into the ocean to fulfill his mission.
Lord of Water is billed as the first in a series, and King includes a brief, ominous foreshadowing of a villain to come. The hope is that future installments are less windup and more fastball.
Also available as an ebook.